14:43 Nov. 27, 2016
Putin-Assad onslaught continues, Erdogan brings AA systems to the border and calls to Moscow
At least 46 civilians were killed and hundreds injured in airstrikes carried out by Assad forces and Putin's warplanes in Syria's northern city of Aleppo on Saturday, Turkish state-run Anadolu agency reports.
According to local civil defence official Ibrahim Abu Laith, the raids targeted opposition-held neighbourhoods in eastern Aleppo.
"Forty-six people were killed and 325 others injured in the bombardment," he told Anadolu Agency.
Assad forces have tightened up siege and attacks on opposition-held areas in eastern Aleppo in an effort to retake Aleppo and advance to Idlib, the opposition's last stronghold.
According to Anadolu, more than 508 civilians have been killed and 1,871 others injured in regime attacks on eastern Aleppo since mid-November. In the last 10 days, all hospitals and medical facilities stopped operating because of the attacks while schools were disrupted.
Meanwhile, Turkish forces and opposition's Free Syrian Army continue the Operation Euphrates Shield, advancing towards the Islamic State stronghold Al Bab. FSA presence in the region poses a threat to the Assad regime and its allies. If al-Bab was to be seized by the FSA, it would allow the opposition fighters to transport humanitarian aid as well as military equipment to their fellow fighters in and around Aleppo. After last week's attack of Assad's jets on advancing troops, Turkey reportedly deployed two ‘Atılgan' medium-low altitude air defence systems near the Syrian border. They probably will be deployed near Al Bab to defend Turkish forces and their allies from further air attacks.
Besides military operations, Ankara takes some diplomatic steps.
"President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin discussed the latest situation in Syria over the phone late Saturday, according to a presidential source. The leaders talked about the recent developments in war-torn Syria and efforts to find a solution to the humanitarian crisis in the Syrian city of Aleppo, the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to the media, said," Anadolu informs.
As reported, Erdogan and Putin also spoke on Friday over the phone "to discuss bilateral and regional issues".
"A number of issues had topped the conversation back then as well, including the attack on Turkish soldiers near Al-Bab in northern Syria as part of Turkey's Operation Euphrates Shield," report states. Outcome of the talks, as well as both sides further steps, are still unrevealed at the moment, but Assad forces along with Kurdish Self-Defence units continue their own advance towards Al Bab. Respective videos of their operations published in YouTube with the explanation, that they are fighting "Washington's moderate terrorists" and "Turkish invasion."
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